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Black-crowned Night Heron

Silhouette HeronsHerons
Black-crowned Night HeronNycticorax nycticorax
  • ORDER: Pelecaniformes
  • FAMILY: Ardeidae

Basic Description

Black-crowned Night Herons are stocky birds compared to many of their long-limbed heron relatives. They’re most active at night or at dusk, when you may see their ghostly forms flapping out from daytime roosts to forage in wetlands. In the light of day adults are striking in gray-and-black plumage and long white head plumes. These social birds breed in colonies of stick nests usually built over water. They live in fresh, salt, and brackish wetlands and are the most widespread heron in the world.

More ID Info
image of range map for Black-crowned Night Heron
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Black-crowned Night Herons are common in wetlands across North America—you just may have to look a little harder than you do for most herons. True to their name, these birds do most of their feeding at night and spend much of the day hunched among leaves and branches at the water’s edge. Evening and dusk are good times to look for these rather stout, short-necked herons flying out to foraging grounds.

Other Names

  • Martinete Común (Spanish)
  • Bihoreau gris (French)
  • Cool Facts